The 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV may just be the version to get in the lineup. It gives you space, power, and efficiency all in a single package and it’s also one of the few plug-in hybrids in the compact luxury crossover class. You won’t mistake the Q5 PHEV for anything but a member of the Audi family. It features the brand’s trademark trapezoidal grille adorned with the four-ring logo. The crossover also gets some neat design tweaks as part of the 2021 model year refresh. That includes new headlight and taillight clusters, a revised lower front fascia. Secondary taillights activate when you open the hatch since the main clusters are attached to the tailgate. In typical modern Audi form, there are also fake exhaust tips; yes, they’re more believable but no exhaust gases flow out of them.
Hopping inside the 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV, you’ll find lots of useful features including 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats. That means longer cargo is easier to haul in the Q5 since you can fold the center seatback independently of the others. You don’t get underfloor storage because the battery lives under the cargo area. Both rows of seating comfortably seat four adults. Five will be best for shorter stints because of a big center tunnel cutting into foot space. Audi’s MMI interface is standard and gets a standard 10.3-inch touchscreen and is available with Google satellite imagery for the built-in navigation system. You can also get Audi’s 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster dubbed Virtual Cockpit on the Q5 PHEV.
Under the hood, the Audi Q5 PHEV couples a 2.0-liter turbo-four with an electric motor, a 14.1-kWh battery, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The total system output is 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates the Q5 PHEV at 25/29/27 mpg city/highway/combined. In EV mode, the crossover can travel up to 19 miles. Unlike some of its competitors, the Q5 PHEV uses a mechanical AWD system, meaning there’s a driveshaft connecting the front and rear axles.
In addition to great acceleration, the Q5 PHEV also handles quite well. Thanks to the battery being placed behind the rear axle, this crossover has a good weight balance, allowing it to drive more like a car than a tall crossover. As a result, the Q5 PHEV is now one of the most agile entries in its class. You don’t sacrifice comfort either; although it’s a little on the firm side, the Q5 PHEV is still quite plush even without the adaptive suspension.
The bottom line with the 2021 Audi Q5 PHEV is that it fixes all the little issues we had with the standard car. It’s more efficient, more powerful, and better balanced. Thanks to the electric motor, you also get a smoother driving experience since it keeps the dual-clutch transmission out of the picture during low-speed situations. You also get the ability to drive emissions-free plus you’re not sacrificing practicality to get all of that extra goodness by opting for the plug-in hybrid powertrain. When you consider the federal tax credits available for the Q5 PHEV, it starts making more sense.
0 to 60 mph: 5.0 seconds
60 to 0: 115 feet
Cabin Noise: B; 72 dB
Fuel Economy: A